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Unwanted Advertising

Updated on June 19, 2013
Endless Pop Ups
Endless Pop Ups

How to stop adverts on your computer, down your telephone line and in the post!

Today we live in a very competitive society where every business wants your custom. Not only do we see advertising bill boards on every street corner trying to sell you their latest product; but we are also subjugated to endless adverts on the radio and the television. We don’t always have to look at the adverts displayed down our street’s high rise buildings; or listen to the adverts coming out of the radio / television sets but the fact that they are consistently there is very agitating and often distracting. There is nothing we can do as individuals to stop this happening because we live in a country with free speech. These forms of advertising are publicly executed on the streets of our country, not in our private homes. We have the choice to turn on or off our radio and television sets to avoid the adverts, so as annoying these adverts might be they remain legally unchallengeable. Just because a billboard is advertising the latest supermarket offers, doesn’t mean we have to look and read the advert.

Unfortunately these advertising companies, hungry for business have evolved their attacks to try and claim more and more business. Today we are faced with adverts constantly pushed directly into our homes and into our lives. In this article I am going to take a look at some of these invasive methods, and how you can stop them.

Online Adverts

Whilst using our computers we are constantly bombarded with adverts that are often very inappropriate for certain viewers. Every time you log onto the internet, or your children log into the internet there is a high chance adverts will pop on screen that you really want to avoid them seeing. Pop-ups displaying enticing gambling websites or adult erotic content will often be pushed into the forefront of your screen and they are not always that easy to get rid of. Pressing the little ‘X’ close button in the corner might spawn more adverts instead of closing the original.

So how do you avoid this happening? For computers it is fairly simple. Start by ensuring you have an active and up to date anti-virus software which also features anti-spyware. The Anti Virus software will ensure that you have not already, and will not be infected by a virus which can ruin your whole computer set up. The anti-spyware aspect will ensure these adverts on the internet will not place small viruses and tracking software onto your computer system that allow these companies to monitor your behaviour, or display adverts when you are not browsing on the internet!

Fortunately this is a very easy evil to stop and will only take a few minutes of your time.

Unwanted Calls
Unwanted Calls

Telephone Adverts

Advertising companies are now pushing harder and using modern digital technology to do something that was simply not possible thirty years ago. They use an automatic dialling machine that will connect to every available telephone number in your country / state. This happens chronologically (starting with 000-000 and ending with 999-999). Every number that disconnects or nobody picks up gets passed on, and the next number is dialled by the machine. When somebody actually picks up a call from one of these machines it is only then connected to an operator. Various companies can use these machines and they do it so they get the maximum amount of productivity out of each day.

Tele-sale calls can often appear to be aimed directly at you, but in reality they are always opportunistic calls. Dialling every single available number usually results in around 0.5% of calls leading to a conversation (daily), and a further small percentage leading to a sale of a product or service.

It is very plausible for you to receive a dozen of these calls every day and they are extremely annoying and disruptive. Fortunately stopping them is very simple and also cost free.

When you receive these calls you will often be told by a person or a computer message that if you no longer wish to receive a call from this company you should press a certain button or dial a certain number. I would recommend you NOT to do this. Remember there are dozens of companies that are calling you advertising different products to you, and following one of these disconnection instructions will only possibly remove one of your many unwanted callers! Furthermore you never can be sure exactly who you are dialling. There is always the risk they are giving you the number to a premium line that will cost you £3-£5 ($4-$7) per minute.

The way to stop these calls is to contact your countries Direct Marketing Association.

Mail Adverts

Much like annoying telephone calls junk mail will often start pouring through your front door. This is annoying, frustrating and most of the time a huge waste of money and resources. Companies are printing out millions of fliers, 70% of which are thrown away immediately, and a further 18% thrown away after reading. Once again this is an intrusion into your home and into your person space. Much like telephone advertising this form of advertising is often considered to be “pushing the limits.”

The way to deal with this problem, much like telephone calls is to contact your Direct Marketing Association.

Contacting the DMA

The Direct Marketing Association is a government department that operates in most western countries. Please be aware, depending on your country the organisation might have a different name. The DMA are usually contactable through the telephone or their website.

The UK’s version is known as the Telephone Preference System [] and the Mail Preference System [].

These organisations are there for a reason; to stop unwanted advertising. All you have to do as an angry civilian is to give them a quick call or fill out their online form and they will take it from there. It works by putting your specific address and telephone number on a black list. This is a black list that not only the government sees but also all advertising companies can see.

If advertising companies attempt to call your number after you have been put on the black list they will be fined by the government agency. The fine in the United Kingdom is around £40 per call. There is a similar rate for junk mail through the door. Over time the advertising companies have learned not to call anyone on the black list as it will cost more than the business they could earn.

In conclusion, wherever you are in the world there is no need to suffer continuous advertising and there really is something you can do about it, and it is usually free for you to do.


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    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      This is great information about how to keep advertisers from invading our personal space. I know that most people find advertisers to be annoying. I'm somewhat strange. I welcome advertisement. I have discovered some fabulous products and services through advertisements that popped up on my screen or sent to me through the mail. For the most part, I am in control of what I view. I can close pop-up ads on my computer. I can see the return address on an envelope and decide not to open it, and I can simply throw out advertising pieces sent through the newspaper.

      But, for those who just don't want to be bothered, your tips are valuable, helpful, and useful. Nice hub on the subject of dealing with unwanted advertising.